Showing posts from June, 2017

Setbisio para i Publiko #35: Ingrato

Tomorrow for my free Chamorro lessons at a Hagåtña coffee shop, we'll be focusing on translating four Chamorro songs into English. The reason for this focus is that next week is the "Na'lå'la': Songs of Freedom" concert being organized by Independent Guåhan (July 4th, 2-5 pm at the Adelup Front Lawn). After the success of the Respect the Chamoru People Rally in April, our group decided to have a similar public event, although this time focus more on art, music and poetry, as opposed to speeches. To get my Chamorro students into the mood for the event (as most of them will be there or are even volunteering), I picked out four interesting songs, with various social/political messages.

One of those songs was this one, "Ingrato" a traditional song written by Tun Jose Pangelinan, but made famous by Candy Taman and the groups Tropic Sette and Chamolinian. It has a simple, yet powerful message, especially profound in times of rapid social and cultural chan…

Na'lå'la' Concert

Independent Guåhan announces July 4th “Na’lå’la’: Songs of Freedom Concert” at Adelup
For Immediate Release, June 20, 2017 – After the success of the Respect the Chamoru People Rally in April, where more than 600 people gathered to show their support for the rights of the Chamorro people, Independent Guåhan is organizing the first of its “Na’lå’la’: Songs of Freedom Concert” series. This concert will take place on July 4th, 2017 from 2:00 - 5:00 P.M. at Adelup Field, and is free and open to the public.
Independent Guåhan is an organization that is committed to educating the island community about the importance of Guam’s decolonization and the possibilities should it become an independent country. The organization has spent the past year organizing General Assemblies, teach-ins, petition drives, coffee shop conversations, and podcasts. This concert represents another phase in community outreach, using creative performances to inspire the island community to imagine a different future f…

The Hong Kong of the Present/Future

I took this picture of the Hong Kong skyline while atop Victoria Peak, while I was there last week. 

Being in Hong Kong I was reminded of Carlton Skinner, who was the first civilian governor of Guam during the time of the passage of the Organic Act. 

Skinner is an interesting figure in Guam history, someone who was of critical importance, but who has received little to no attention from the island (save for a plaza that was named for him, that was demolished to make way for the Guam Museum). 

He had been a progressive person for his time, helping to racially integrate units for the US Navy during World War II. 

He sometimes joked that he must have gotten the job as Governor of Guam because it was an island filled with brown people and he had captained ships fill with black people. 

He is known for helping set up the local government, but also facilitating the legalization of the illegal land-takings by the US military during the immediate postwar years. 

While serving as governor, h…

Independent Guåhan June General Assembly

Independent Guåhan’s June General Assembly focuses on issue of military dumping and vandalism in the village of Toto
For Immediate Release, June 20, 2017 – Independent Guåhan (IG) has continued to bring decolonization outreach and education to Guam’s villages with two successful forums in Malesso’ and Chalan Pågo. This month’s General Assembly (GA) will be at the Toto Community Center on June 29, from 6:00 -7:30 p.m. The focus this month is on the troubling history of military dumping on Guam and also creative ways communities can deal with problems such as vandalism and crime.
Each meeting, IG honors a Maga’taotao, or outstanding person. This month the group will honor the legacy of Tan Deda, or Magdalena S.N. Bayani, a war survivor, master techa and pillar of the M-T-M community who passed away recently. IG honors the strength and perseverance of Tan Deda and all other war survivors as June 28 is Guam War Survivors Memorial Day.
In analyzing the impacts of World War II on Chamorros…


"Donald Trump Has No Plan to Make America Great Again"
by Derek Thompson
The Atlantic
June 7, 2017

It’s “Infrastructure Week” at the White House. Theoretically.
On Monday, the administration announced a plan to spend $200 billion on infrastructure and overhaul U.S. air traffic control. There was a high-profile signing in the East Wing before dozens of cheering lawmakers and industry titans. It was supposed to be the beginning of a weeklong push to fix America’s roads, bridges, and airports.
But in the next two days, Trump spent more energy burning metaphorical bridges than trying to build literal ones. He could have stayed on message for several hours, gathered Democrats and Republicans to discuss a bipartisan agreement, and announced a timeframe. Instead he quickly turned his attention to Twitter to accuse media companies of “Fake News” while undermining an alliance with Qatar based on what may be, fittingly, a fake news story.
It’s a microcosm of this administra…

Fanhokkåyan #5: Chamorro Soul Wound

Fanhokkåyan is my series where I share articles, writings and other documents from some of my previous websites, most notably the Kopbla Amerika/Chamorro Information Activist website and Minagahet Zine. The one I'm sharing today is an intriguing one, as it represents a piece that helped shape alot of my own perceptions as an early activist about Chamorro issues, in particular their relationship to colonial legacies. This piece, which I co-wrote with a friend of mine at the time, built off the idea of "soul wound" a theory that was first popularized in considering the contemporary place of Native Americans in relation to their historical (or continuing) trauma. It is far too easy for us to argue that we shouldn't be stuck in the past by recounting how Chamorros have been hurt by colonizers, that is a common interpassive point. In truth, we need to recount it and we need to understand it, most importantly so that we can change things today, so that we can reshape the …

Mensåhi Ginen i Gehilo' #25: Hagåtña, 1899

I'm working on an exhibit for Humanities Guåhan, and its put me back into researcher/scholar mode. I've been pouring through books and reports for the past week looking for various bits and pieces of information. Part of this meant re-reading some books and archival documents I hadn't touched in over a decade. Given the way in which conversations over decolonization and self-government have begun to take on a new character lately, I was particularly attracted to passages that can help me or others reflect on our development over time, how far Chamorros and Guam may have come, or haven't, especially in the context of their political connection to the US.

There are many ways that we can say that Guam has changed over the past 500 years or over the past 100 years. As we remain in the era of American colonialism, I am mostly concerned with the impact of the US and its policies. As I have written about in a variety of ways, these changes are tangible and very real, but als…

Decolonization in the Caribbean #17: Militarization and Decolonization

At this year's Regional Seminar for the Committee of 24 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, attendees were treated to two presentations by experts on decolonization from the UN perspective. I'll discuss both presentations through my "Decolonization in the Caribbean" posts, but today I wanted to focus on the remarks from Dr. Carlyle Corbin, from the US Virgin Islands, who is a longtime ally with Guam and the Chamorro people in their struggle for self-determination.

He offered a number of recommendations that the Committee could take up in terms of moving ahead with its mission of eradicating colonialism from the world and assisting the remaining non-self-governing territories. What is refreshing in terms of the seminar overall is the way it mixes scholars and experts with diplomats or government reps. The debate or discussions between country representatives and committee members tends to move in familiar and sometimes frustrating directions. Regardless of what is the…

Gaige Yu' Giya Hong Kong

Gaige yu' giya Hong Kong para este na simåna.

Guaha konferensia guini, ya hami yan si Isa para bei in fama'nu'i.

Bai hu fannge' siempre put i hinanao-hu.

Lumi'of Yu'

Lumi’of yu’ gi tasi Tahdong, tahdongña ki hu hongge Mañodda’ yu’ tahgong Gi sen manengheng na unai Annai hu chule’ gui’ hulo’ para i sakmån-hu Hu pega gui’ kontra i talanga’-hu I fetgon pinachå-ña mamesña ki hu hongge Ya hu hungok Kumunananaf hulo’ i kantå-mu A’gangña ki i hesguan binibon tåsi Tinektoktok ni’ pappa’ påkyo’ Ya hu tungo’ na gaisiente este na kånta Tahdongña ki hu hongge
Dumesnik hao gi me’nå-hu Ma’lakña ki i langhet Mañiñila ni’ mit chålan na puti’on
I dove into the ocean Deep, deeper than I believed I found a shell In the freezing cold sand And when I took it back up to my canoe I placed it against my ear The wet touch sweeter than I believed And I heard Your song crawling up Louder than the jealous fury of the ocean Embraced by the wings of a storm And I know that this song has feeling Deeper than I believed
You appeared before me Brighter than the sky Illuminated by a thousand thousand stars

Decolonization in the Pacific #16: Free At Last

In the middle of this year's regional seminar of the UN C24, the proceedings stopped briefly in order to recognize the release of Oscar Lopez Rivera, a long-time Puerto Rican political prisoner. Rivera was part of the Puerto Rican independence group named FALN, which was involved in more than 100 bombings around the US during the 1970s. He was convicted of seditious conspiracy along with other crimes and spent 35 years in prison. Rivera has been mentioned each year I have attended the regional seminar, as some Latin American countries feel a strong sense of solidarity with Puerto Rico and its independence activists, and therefore consider his case to be that of a political prisoner or a prisoner of war, who should have been subject to international court proceedings, as he was fighting for the liberation of Puerto Rico from US colonial control.

Vilma Reveron, who frequently attends the seminars to discuss the state of affairs in Puerto Rico made the announcement and held up her l…